GENOLA A resident of this small Utah town filed a formal complaint Thursday with the mayor, charging a Town Council member violated state ethical codes.
Genola resident Emily Clinger sent a short, curt letter to Mayor Eric Hazelet, saying that Councilman Bryan Draper had compelling conflicts of interest when he participated in votes on the Genola Meadows subdivision a joint venture between the town and Planning Commission Chairman Marty Larson because Draper has held a trust deed there since Dec. 31, 2007, and he acquired two more trust deeds Jan. 3 and April 10.
"I believe Councilman Bryan Draper has violated Utah Code 10-3-1308 by holding investments trust deeds in the Genola Meadows subdivision and failing to disclose this in a public meeting," she wrote.
Hazelet, Draper and town attorney Brett Rich did not return requests for comment Friday. Clinger also sent the letter to the Utah County Attorney's Office, but no one would comment on the charges in the letter.
The section of Utah code that Clinger cites requires appointed officials to disclose any investment that creates a conflict of interest between the official's personal interest and his public duties in
Clinger said Draper failed to follow that protocol in several town meetings where the 10-lot subdivision, located at 350 E. 800 North, was discussed and voted on. Now she's demanding the mayor investigate the matter, as is requisite by state code.
"If it is found he has a conflict he has failed to disclose ... that is cause for dismissal of the councilman," she said.
The Town Council gathered May 28 to discuss a moratorium that had been placed on the Genola Meadows subdivision several months ago because of disputes over whether the development is out of compliance with minimum lot size. A vote was called for the moratorium to be rescinded, but town Councilman Chris Greenwood first asked council members to declare whether they had a conflict or equitable interest in any properties in the subdivision.
Hazelet and town Councilmen Kendell Ewell and Michael Vail declared they had no compelling interest in the development but Draper did not. In fact, according to accounts of the meeting, he didn't say much except to second a motion and vote "aye" on lifting the moratorium.
It wasn't the first time Draper failed to disclose an interest, Clinger said. The town has discussed the subdivision several times before. On one vote, the council entered into a contract with Rocky Mountain Power to make improvements to the lots.
Greenwood said he thinks Draper has a compelling interest in the future of the development because if the lots fall into foreclosure, Draper obtains the titles, along with added infrastructure.
"He clearly had a personal interest in it," Greenwood said.
There is also concern Draper's son, Dale, has been called in to act as project manager for the development. According to a contract dated Oct. 25, 2006, Dale Draper was expected to review all real estate and trade documents and oversee construction at the development for $18,900. But Greenwood said he's concerned because the job wasn't put up for bid.
"Why didn't we bid it out?" he asked Hazelet at the May 28 meeting.
"Because the price was low enough that we didn't bother," Hazelet said.
Court documents show that nearly a year before the town hired Dale Draper, a default judgment of $250,000 was placed against him after he was accused of fraudulent real estate activity.
The subdivision has been a divisive topic for the community for several years. Recently, objections were raised because eight of the 10 lots range in size from 2.08 to 2.31 acres smaller than the 2.5-acre minimum mandated by town zoning.
In the May 28 meeting, Hazelet reportedly said the subdivision was plotted using a method where lots were measured at a minimum size of 2.5 acres and then roads were dedicated. Clinger said that conflicts with current ordinances that require road dedication before lot measurement.
Hazelet said the council removed road dedication from the subdivision ordinance in October 2006. Greenwood said a revised ordinance has not appeared in the records, but Vail said the process was completed legally except for one detail.
"It was legally and lawfully done," he said in a recording of the meeting. "We did everything correctly, it just didn't get written and put in the books."
But all that matters is what's on the books, Clinger said, which is what this whole situation is about."I'm just trying to maintain the law," she said.